Kamiak’s Devin Kim tees off during the Tom Dolan Memorial Invitational golf tournament on April 8, 2019, at Everett Golf & County Club. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Kamiak’s Devin Kim tees off during the Tom Dolan Memorial Invitational golf tournament on April 8, 2019, at Everett Golf & County Club. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Coronavirus casts uncertainty over high school spring sports

Many local school districts have postponed spring games, while others are taking a wait and see approach.

For some local high schools, the recent coronavirus outbreak has drastically affected the beginning of their spring sports season.

For other area schools, the impact hasn’t been nearly as significant.

But either way, the spread of the virus has cast a cloud of uncertainty over spring sports.

“The biggest challenge is not knowing what’s gonna happen tomorrow,” Northwest District athletic director Robert Polk said. “When we have a snow event, we can watch the weather forecast and we can make some educated guesses. In this particular case, we don’t know what’s going on with the virus. We don’t know if the governor is going to come out with some mandate.

“It is very challenging, because we can’t see the end,” he added. “We don’t know what’s coming around the corner.”

Spring sports include baseball, boys and girls golf, boys soccer, softball, girls tennis and boys and girls track.

The most significant course of action was taken Friday by the Edmonds School District, which announced that all games and athletic competitions through April 12 have been suspended.

Between the district’s four high schools — Edmonds-Woodway, Lynnwood, Meadowdale and Mountlake Terrace — that decision affects more than 180 varsity sporting events.

“This is an evolving situation and we’re just trying to make the best decisions for our students and our staff and our community with the information that we have,” Edmonds School District media and public relations supervisor Harmony Weinberg said. “We have daily briefings in our emergency operations center where we discuss these situations and make these decisions with direct contact with the Snohomish Health District.

“Picking the March 9 through April 12 (time frame) gets us through spring break,” Weinberg added. “And so that provided us a little over a month to track the conditions as they’re changing and continue our part to best do social distancing when and where we can.”

Edmonds School District teams are still holding practices. The district said in Friday’s announcement on its website that it considers practices “extensions of the school day.”

“We want to not bring in new people who are not part of our particular community at that time,” Weinberg said. “We’re trying to maintain and continue education with our students as much as we can and continue with other activities as we can. So by controlling the environment as best we can with the people who are already in that environment, (we’re) trying not to bring in outside potential spreads.”

Other local school districts also have announced postponements or cancellations.

The Marysville School District — which includes Marysville Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools — has postponed or canceled all athletic events through at least March 22.

The Monroe School District has suspended all athletic events through next Monday and is taking a weekly approach, Monroe High School athletic director Jeannette Siemers said.

Marysville and Monroe teams are still practicing.

The Stanwood-Camano School District has suspended all sporting events through at least March 21, Stanwood High School athletic director Tom Wilfong said Tuesday evening.

The district announced Tuesday that all of its schools will be closed Wednesday through Friday “so that we can assess the evolving situation in our community.” Athletic practices and activities also are canceled.

As of Tuesday evening, three cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed at a Stanwood nursing home.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement of the district-wide school closures, Stanwood had already suspended all high school sporting events through this weekend.

“Hopefully we get through it and give the kids at least some part of their spring season,” Wilfong said Monday. “Like all the coaches and I talk about, you feel bad for (the) seniors. Underclassmen will have another year. … But seniors, they only get their one senior year. So hopefully we get something to happen for them.”

The Arlington, Everett, Lake Stevens, Mukilteo, Shoreline, and Snohomish school districts had not canceled any games or competitions as of Tuesday afternoon.

However, many teams within those districts have had events postponed or canceled as a result of measures taken by their opponents’ districts.

“We haven’t canceled any yet, but other schools have canceled, which affect our schedule, of course,” Arlington High School athletic director Tom Roys said.

And as Roys noted, the situation could change at any moment.

“This thing is so fluid that the phone could ring when I hang up here and tell me that we’re gonna (postpone or cancel games),” he said Tuesday morning. “So that’s probably the most trying thing is just not knowing.”

The Snohomish School District closed its schools Tuesday after it was confirmed Monday that a district employee had tested positive for COVID-19. All athletics and activities were canceled Tuesday.

The district announced Tuesday afternoon that its schools were scheduled to reopen Wednesday. Mark Perry, the Snohomish High School athletic director, said Tuesday afternoon that high school sports practices also were slated to resume Wednesday.

Perry said the district had not canceled any sporting events as of Tuesday afternoon, but that some final decisions were still being made.

“We have not canceled any events that are under our control yet,” he said. “But obviously as fast as things are changing, that could change as well. There was some discussion today and we’re waiting for some final word here probably (Wednesday) morning.

“So we’re just staying flexible and kind of riding along with it,” he added.

March 2 was the first day of practice for spring sports across the state. The state championships for spring sports are slated for the week of May 27-30.

Most of the area’s postponed or canceled sporting events are non-league contests. However, for Edmonds School District teams and opponents, the beginning of league play will be affected.

Polk said that because of the fluid nature of the situation, athletic directors plan to wait a bit longer before making any changes to league schedules.

“We are choosing to be patient,” he said Monday evening. “We’re looking at things, but we’re going to wait a couple more days, because things can change in a hurry and decisions might be made for us.

“And so instead of doing a whole bunch of work right away on what the league schedules will change to or what have you, we’re just gonna be patient and hope there aren’t any drastic changes or developments that cause us to do something else.

“But once we get through the next couple days and we hopefully have a better idea, then we’ll start working on that.”

Weinberg said the priority right now is health and safety.

“At this time, we just need to prioritize the safety of our students and staff and coaches — just do everything we can in this unprecedented time for us as a district and making the best decision we can each day with the information that we have,” she said.

“And we understand it’s frustrating and it’s challenging and not ideal. But when you’re dealing with an outbreak that has impact to people’s health, we’re just prioritizing that and doing everything we can as a district to stay on top of it.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Granite Falls' Kaleb Roberts rushes with Sultan's Kaden Harwick closing Friday night in Sultan on February 26, 2021 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Friday night lights finally back on

Granite Falls beats rival Sultan in OT in the area’s first prep football game in more than 15 months.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez waits to bat during spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Mariners prospect learning from Seattle icon

Julio Rodriguez, just barely 20 years old, is relishing an opportunity to work with Ichiro Suzuki.

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin (0), left, and center Christian Koloko (35) smother Washington forward Nate Roberts (1) as they fight for a loose ball goes to the ground in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Huskies edged by Arizona in regular-season finale

Washington’s difficult regular season comes to an end with a hard-fought 75-74 loss on the road.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks to quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 31-23.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Reports show growing divide between Wilson, Seahawks

But despite the star quarterback’s apparent unhappiness, a trade in 2021 remains unlikely.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Quarterback Tanner Jellison runs a play with running backs Jay Roughton, left, and Trayce Hanks as the Lake Stevens High School football team conducts its first practice, marking the first day of practice for fall sports in the Wesco division, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Wesco high school sports teams’ long layoff finally ends

For the first time in more than 450 days, Wesco fall athletes gathered for official practices.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips release abbreviated 24-game schedule

Everett will open its season against Spokane at Angel of the Winds Arena on March 20.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert passes the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga’s Kispert finalist for Erving Award

The Edmonds native is among the final five to be the top small forward in college basketball.

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
L.A. sheriff calls Tiger Woods crash ‘purely an accident’

Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talks about the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano, before the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Seattle. Cano was suspended 80 games for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners doing damage control with players after Mather’s video

GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais say the players involved have every right to be upset.

Arizona Diamondbacks' Travis Snider singles against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Community sports roundup: Ex-Jackson star Snider joins Braves

Plus, a former Monroe QB is excelling at Whitworth, the Silvertips sign a former T-bird, and more.